Surrender all 2G spectrum: Telcos told
The government has in-principle approved the concept of spectrum refarming under which old operators like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone have to surrender spectrum allocated in 900 Mhz band (being used for 2G services which gives wider coverage) on expiry of their licences.
"The entire spectrum in 900 MHz will be refarmed," Telecom Secretary R Chandrashekhar said.
He said three different options were put before the commission, which included refarming (or redistribution of airwaves held by existing players) of all airwaves held by incumbents, or allowing the operators to retain either 2.5 Mhz or 5 Mhz of airwaves frequencies in 900 Mhz band.
"The commission decided that entire spectrum will be refarmed which means above 0 (Mhz)," Chandrashekhar said.
The recommendations of the commission will now be put before the empowered group of ministers (EGoM) headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram for a final decision.
The EGoM is likely to meet tomorrow.
Chandrashekhar said the existing operators will be allowed to bid in the auction of 900 MHz band, which is likely to take place in the first half of 2013. If they are successful, they can retain the spectrum, he said.
However, if the incumbents fail to win the spectrum, they will be given 18 months to move to 1800 MHz for which an
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